Though you might raise your eyebrows at Baku’s claim to be ‘Europe’s Easternmost Country’ you can’t deny how formidable Azerbaijan has become in only a short-time at Eurovision. The Land of Fire delivers sizzling songstresses, ballads that are the envy of many and catchy earworm lyrics that stay with you long after the last country’s votes are in. They’ve racked up five Top 5 finishes from six appearances, averaging 182 Points and four sets of 12 Points per contest. In 2011 they won the Contest with ‘Running Scared.’
2013: Farid Mammadov with ‘Hold Me’, 2nd Place with 234 Points
2012: Sabina Babayeva with ‘When The Music Dies’, 4th Place with 150 Points
2011: Ell & Nikki with ‘Running Scared’, 1st Place with 221 Points
2010: Safura with ‘Drip Drop’, 5th Place with 145 Points
2009: AySel & Arash with ‘Always’, 3rd Place with 207 Points
2008: Elnur and Samir with ‘Day After Day’, 8th Place with 132 Points
Finals Qualified For: 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.
How often are Ell and Nikki ‘running’ in Running Scared? 17 Times
Number of Times Safura accuses ‘You’ in Drip Drop: 12 Times
How often did Farid Mammadov want holding in 2013? 8 Times.
How often have Malta and Turkey awarded Azerbaijan 12 Points? Twice
Best Scoring Entry:
Farid Mamadov with ‘Hold Me’, 2nd Place with 234 Points
Farid wasn’t exactly a dark horse in the competition given Azerbaijan’s formidable Top 5 pedigree. But ‘Hold Me’ proved a surprise runner up in 2013, bypassing stronger rated acts to pose a real challenge to Emmelie De Forest. Farid won the most sets of 12 Points on the night. With an earworm chorus, intriguing if slightly bizarre staging on the night and Farid’s handsome good looks it isn’t hard to see why Azerbaijan fared so well this year in Malmö. Sadly for Farid it seems it was just a little to soon to go back to Baku for Europe.
Most Memorable Lyrics: “I’d swim across the ocean if you’d call.” Dedication right there – he’s a keeper!
Worst Scoring Entry:
Elnur and Samir with ‘Day After Day’, 8th Place with 132 Points
Herein lies the reason why Azerbaijan have ever since outsourced production for their Eurovision entry. This is pretty much everything that was wrong about Eurovision in the mid-2000s. Stupid falsetto vocal, ridiculous outfits for dancers and vocalists, and a stupid gimmick that gave Eurovision a bad name. The fact it blends into a rock song halfway through is jarring. That being said, it’s not all that bad a thing to say your worst ever entry is a Top 10…
Most Memorable Lyrics: “Our feelings play with us, but you must keep yourself under control, if you’re searching for resolves, be ready for the tolls.” In hindsight, singing for Baku has not proved such a toll after all.
What Team Wiwi Have To Say About Azerbaijan:
Daphne Dee: Since 2009 the best has always been ‘Always’! Really catchy and two great vocalists! If only I could say the same for ‘Running Scared’ – my ears still hurt from the live performance.
Katie Wilson: ‘Hold Me’ is easily the best song from Azerbaijan. It’s catchy and the ultimate karaoke song! ‘Running Scared’ is a world away – it’s just a really awkward Disney Duet.
Zach Thomas: Safura’s way ahead of Azerbaijan’s other entries. She belted out ‘Drip Drop’ like no other on the Oslo stage! ‘Hold Me’, on the other hand, is just boring and Farid came across as narcissistic. He had a good voice, but there wasn’t much else going for the song.
Wiwi: I’m torn between Safura and Aysel & Arash as the best in Azerbaijan’s history. That duet was fierce, but Safura is my gurrrrl. Anyone who can swim in a sea of toilet paper and still look elegant gets my vote. The fact that she hired Beyonce’s choreographer and wore one glove on stage Michael Jackson style really warms the heart. I don’t have to debate Azerbaijan’s worst entry: 2008 was painful!
There’s a lot of Wiwi Love for AySel and Arash and Safura, and a surprising amount of hate for winning song ‘Running Scared’. What do you all think? Should Sabina Babayeva have had a mention somewhere for that dress? Did the Angels of Azerbaijan take you to your heaven in 2008? And what’s your favourite act from Azerbaijan? Vote in our poll below (you can only vote one time, but you can vote for as many acts as you’d like).
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Photo: Alan Douit (EBU)